TIME magazine has announced Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is one of its 100 most influential people of 2020. Mahomes is one of three sports figures named as Titans on the TIME’s list. The others are NBA star Dwayne Wade and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton.
Mahomes’ achievements on the field — being named NFL MVP in his first season as Chiefs starting quarterback and Super Bowl MVP the year after — have given him the platform. But it’s what he’s done with it that has landed him on this list, as new Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Derek Jeter noted in Mahomes’ introduction for TIME.
When Patrick Mahomes steps onto the football field, all eyes are drawn to him. It’s not just that his combination of athleticism, creativity and vision is fun to watch. What his play really showcases is his love of the game and the commitment he’s made to his teammates and coaches, and it’s clear that is the true foundation of his success.
That joy and loyalty drive his work ethic and the hours of practice and studying he puts in to be the best he can be. It drives his ability to stay calm, steady and focused when challenges arise, whether in the middle of the biggest game or over the course of a long season. And most important, it drives his competitive fire and strong leadership qualities, which just continue to grow.
There is a lot more promise in Patrick Mahomes’ future than just on-field accolades. He already has started to build a legacy as one of the most impactful athletes of his generation, and I, for one, am excited to see what is next.
It’s appropriate that Jeter was chosen to write about Mahomes. The former MLB superstar has known him since he was a young boy, hanging around major league baseball stadiums with his father Pat Mahomes, who had an 11-year career as a major-league pitcher. And young Mahomes idolized Jeter.
”Growing up, I saw guys like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter,” recalled Mahomes earlier this year while appearing on “The Shop” on HBO. “[I saw] they were at the top of the game and how much work they put in. I think that instilled in me at a young age that it’s not about the top. It’s about the process of getting there — and the process of every day, staying there. I have this same process that I go through every single week [and] every single day — to prepare myself for each and every game — and it didn’t change from when I was a year one rookie (and not playing) to now. I’m doing the same exact stuff.”
Mahomes carries that same determination to succeed — and to do the right thing — to everything he does. Now almost universally regarded as the face of the NFL, he has used his leadership skills — and his fame — to promote causes in which he believes, including voter participation and the league-wide movement to end racism in America.
While introducing the list, TIME’s Edward Felsenthal noted that in the two decades the magazine has been producing its annual list, there’s never been a year like 2020 — one with “multiple crises, all over the world, all at once.”
“And so this year’s list looks far different than any of us could have predicted just six months ago,” he continued. “The TIME 100 has always been a mirror of the world and those who shape it. While you will certainly find people who wield traditional power on this year’s list—heads of state, CEOs, major entertainers—it also includes many extraordinary, lesser-known individuals who seized the moment to save lives, build a movement, lift the spirit, repair the world.”
And that’s a list on which Mahomes deserves to be.